Oculus Seeks to Make Virtual Reality a Social Experience

Oculus wants to expand into 3-D animation and 3-D filmmaking as it continues to push the boundaries of virtual reality.


According to Engadget.com writer Edgar Alvarez, “Oculus Story Studio, arguably the Pixar of virtual reality, this is the first step in making the medium more social. And it’s using its short film Lost, introduced earlier this year at Sundance, as a test bed. Still, whether we’re talking about a cute movie or a fun game, most VR activities so far have one thing in common: They’re solitary experiences. Oculus wants to change that.”

Blerds reported that the Oculus Rift headset will hit store shelves for virtual reality enthusiasts everywhere to enjoy in 2016.

Oculus’ goal is to make story-telling and virtual reality as interactive as possible. The Lost short film allows people to be characters in the film. Two people wearing Oculus Rifts can be the fireflies in the film that interact with the story world and the other characters.

The end game is to convince filmmakers to make works that are flexible enough to have audience members interact in the story as actual characters.

“We think the future of VR in cinema is social, that you’re with your friends. You’re not in the same room, maybe; maybe you’re all going in together at the same time, and that’s where the lines between cinema and an MMO (massive multiplayer online) start to blur,” states Story Studio producer Edward Saatchi.

Virtual Reality Still Just Around the Corner as Developers Try to Eliminate the Final Kinks

For years now virtual reality headsets for gaming and movie-watching have been just around the corner.

For years now….

Tech lovers have long been strapping clunky early models of virtual reality sets to their faces and forgetting in the midst of their excitement that their neck is screaming in agony and that a red rectangular mark was stuck on their face by the time they removed the headset.

This all goes without mentioning the fact that for many consumers, the headset was ripped off in a mad dash to the bathroom to vomit after motion sickness settled in.

Game enthusiasts never needed a special headset to spot the empty promises that were constantly fueling their hopes that virtual reality would finally actually come around the world’s largest corner.

The dominating presence of virtual reality developments at the Game Developers Conferences in San Francisco, however, sparked a new wave of hope that the wait for virtual reality sets would soon be over.

This was mainly because it seemed like every major tech giant in the virtual reality race had stunning new developments to demo for the anxious public.

Oculus, Sony, and Valve all had virtual reality sets on display at the conferences, and the industry’s power players were happy to discuss the new technologies on the way.

“There is a legitimate opportunity,” said Oculus CTO John Carmack. “Make something great, and there will be opportunities there to move a number of units, to be the breakout ‘thing.’ To look back and say, ‘Well, clearly that was the obvious thing to do’ when it wasn’t the obvious thing to do.”

With a new wave of buzz around virtual reality, it’s no surprise that developers are already working on some of the first games that consumers will get to play with the headsets.

Serious Parody CEO Daniel Hinkle has been eagerly working on games for the Oculus Rift, but other developers were hesitant to hop on board.

While the tech giants did unveil impressive advances at the conferences, there are still serious concerns about the actual functionality surrounding the devices.

For one, the devices are still making some people sick.

In the midst of assuring tech lovers that virtual reality was on the way and praising the daring pioneers of the technology, Carmack also pointed to the current downfalls and obstacles that are plaguing the devices.

Carmack laid out his “nightmare scenario.”

“People like the demo, they take it home, and they start throwing up,” Carmack said.

It’s a very real reality.

For those who managed to get their hands on Ocular prototypes in the past, the motion sickness struggle was proven to be very real.

“The fear is if a really bad V.R. product comes out, it could send the industry back to the ’90s,” he said.

Carmack wasn’t the only one to discuss this fear.

Gabe Newell, the president and co-founder of Valve, described the VR demonstrations as “the world’s best motion sickness inducers,” the NY Times reported.

In addition to motion sickness, some users are still unhappy with the size and weight of many VR headsets, which ultimately prohibits them from being focused on the exciting digital realm before them for too long.

This comes along with serious concerns about the price point.

Khaled Helioui, CEO of European game studio Bigpoint, was unhappy with the fact that the headsets will cost $200 or more.

Samsung’s Gear VR is currently priced at $200.

Other tech giants haven’t announced their prices, but it isn’t likely that the $200 price tag will get slashed by competitors.

“The message that sends is, ‘Hey, you need to be wealthy to play our games,’ and I have a big problem with that,” Helioui told Mashable.

For that reason, consumers shouldn’t expect to see any Bigpoint games coming out for the VR sets just yet.

Helioui hinted that he won’t allow it until the price points come down.

Consumers, on the other hand, don’t see the big deal.

“I wouldn’t mind spending up to $300 for a VR headset,” one reader commented.

The Mashable reader also suggested he wouldn’t be willing to go much higher than that but as the tech world has already shown in the past —if the device catches on, people will be willing to dish out an extra hundred bucks or so to make sure they don’t miss the initial wave of a gaming revolution.


The ‘Father of Modern Gaming’ Insists That the Virtual Reality Takeover Is Finally Here

virtual reality set

After years of anticipation and vivid imagination, industry experts are confident that the tech world is finally on the brink of introducing consumers to the kind of virtual reality technology they only dreamed about.

The past few years in tech have seen incredible advancements and exponential growth.

Cars are able to park themselves. Phones know more about us than our friends and family do. Google claims to have the technology to build an elevator to space. Printers have gone from printing out family photos and research papers to spitting out figurines and prosthetic arms.

Needless to say, tech has come a long way.

But even in the age of real-life jetpacks and speakers you can text, tech-savvy consumers are still not completely satisfied.

The good news is that the moment they have been truly waiting for, perhaps even more than the flying car, could finally be peeking over the horizon.

The age of virtual-reality sets could finally be here.

Virtual reality got off to a bit of a false start when Oculus Rift was first announced back in 2012, but since then the growth of this technology has seemed slow. Rumors of any breakthrough have yet to spark a massive whirlwind of media attention online.

According to Tim Sweeney, however, things are about to change.

Sweeney, the man who started Epic Games and is hailed as the “father of the modern gaming industry,” believes virtual reality is about to change the world.

“There are some amazing things happening in VR right now, and a lot of them haven’t seen the light of day publicly at all,” Sweeney said during a phone interview with Engadget. “But next year is going to just be a watershed time for VR.”

There have been a few industry moves that suggested big things were happening with virtual reality, but nothing that seemed too exciting without someone like Sweeney backing it up.

Facebook paid $2 billion to purchase Oculus VR in 2014, and other tech giants, including Samsung, Valve, Google, Microsoft and Sony, have also started delving into the world of virtual reality.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, virtual reality stole the show with demonstrations of 360-degree monster films and stunning flight simulators.

But that isn’t the full extent of the possibilities of virtual reality, according to Sweeney.

“It’s going to change the world,” he said. “The hardware is going to double in quality every few years for another decade, to the point where, 10 years from now, it’s going to be hard to tell the difference between virtual reality and the real world.”